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20th Feb 2024

How often should we replace household items?

Jody Coffey

(First published on, and republished here with permission).

This is useful information to have.

Many of us may wait until there are enough visible signs of wear and tear before replacing certain household items.

While we are always looking to get more value for our money, some items require replacing more frequently than we may think.

After all, there is only so much bleaching and cleaning that can done before we admit an item has reached its expiration date.

Similarly, a smell test may sometimes indicate it is time to replace certain items, but experts from warn that a fresh scent doesn’t mean that it’s not covered in harmful bacteria.

With this in mind, the interior experts have revealed how often household items need to be changed to avoid a potential germ infestation.

Shower curtains – three months

Yes, your shower curtains need to be replaced pretty frequently.

The excess amount of water hitting the shower curtain may allow for mould growth, like in any other environment where there are heavy moisture conditions.

Mould spray can keep the problem at bay for a while but with the constant showering, it’s best to swap out shower curtains every three months.

Credit: Getty

Bed sheets – two years

The last place anyone wants to have germs or bacteria is in their bed.

This is why the experts recommend not using the same bed sheets for more than two years, as they are a welcoming home to germs and even dust mites.

The smell test can be employed for this one as they explain that once you notice a foul smell or even itchiness from sleeping on the sheets, they likely need replacing.

Sponges – when the smell lingers

Sponges don’t have a timeframe, per se, but if they have a persistent smell after excess usage, it’s a sign they need to go.

To make them last longer, ensure any excess water is rung out after each use.

Chopping boards – one year

Marks from knives can allow bacteria to deepen into the chopping board.

For this reason, chopping boards should be renewed after one year to avoid contamination of food, which is potentially harmful when preparing meats and fish.

Credit: Getty

Toilet brush – nine months

Toilet brushes can be cleaned with bleach and toilet cleaner, but only for so long; the suggested timeframe is nine months.

Dirty toilet brushes may have bacteria lingering on the stems of the brush, even after cleaning, so it’s best to listen to this warning.

Protective phone screens – one year

Experts have warned that our mobile phones can have as much bacteria as a toilet seat, especially the front screens.

Given how much we use our phones on a day-to-day basis, they recommend changing the protective screen once a year.

You should also give it a clean in between replacements.

Rugs – three years

Rugs are often a focal point of a living room, but outside of their aesthetic, they can be a potential breeding ground for germs.

They are constantly being walked on which means harmful bacteria may go deeper into the material.

For this reason, it’s best to replace rugs every three years.

Credit: Getty

Toothbrush – six months

While we associate brushing our teeth with hygiene, the bottom of a toothbrush can be a ‘pit of bacteria’, even when thoroughly cleaned, according to

We should replace our toothbrushes every six months to prevent any illnesses.

Towels – two years

Again, many of us may think that towels are a source of cleanliness, given we only use them after we have cleaned ourselves.

However, even with regular washing, they should be replaced every two years.

This is because bacteria and fungi can linger on them which can lead to skin rashes and illness, even if they’ve been soaked and cleaned.

Pans – five years

We can get at least five years out of pans before we need to replace them, as long as they’re receiving deep scrubs to eliminate bacteria buildup, especially for pans that are used frequently.

Ensure to regularly check for any smells that linger and whether food stains can be cleaned out first before swapping for a newer model.

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